Detection of Vortex Tubes in Solar Granulation from Observations with SUNRISE

The Astrophysical Journal Letters (Impact Factor: 5.6). 10/2010; 723(2):L180. DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/723/2/L180
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We have investigated a time series of continuum intensity maps and corresponding Dopplergrams of granulation in a very quiet solar region at the disk center, recorded with the Imaging Magnetograph eXperiment (IMaX) on board the balloon-borne solar observatory SUNRISE. We find that granules frequently show substructure in the form of lanes composed of a leading bright rim and a trailing dark edge, which move together from the boundary of a granule into the granule itself. We find strikingly similar events in synthesized intensity maps from an ab initio numerical simulation of solar surface convection. From cross sections through the computational domain of the simulation, we conclude that these granular lanes are the visible signature of (horizontally oriented) vortex tubes. The characteristic optical appearance of vortex tubes at the solar surface is explained. We propose that the observed vortex tubes may represent only the large-scale end of a hierarchy of vortex tubes existing near the solar surface.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Context. Recent results from high-resolution solar granulation observations indicate the existence of a population of small granular cells that are smaller than 600 km in diameter. These small convective cells strongly contribute to the total area of granules and are located in the intergranular lanes, where they form clusters and chains. Aims: We study high-resolution radiation hydrodynamics simulations of the upper convection zone and photosphere to detect small granular cells, define their spatial alignment, and analyze their physical properties. Methods: We developed an automated image-segmentation algorithm specifically adapted to high-resolution simulations to identify granules. The resulting segmentation masks were applied to physical quantities, such as intensity and vertical velocity profiles, provided by the simulation. A new clustering algorithm was developed to study the alignment of small granular cells. Results: Small granules make a distinct contribution to the total area of granules and form clusters of chain-like alignments. The simulation profiles demonstrate a different nature for small granular cells because they exhibit on average lower intensities, lower horizontal velocities, and are located deeper inside of convective layers than regular granules. Their intensity distribution deviates from a normal distribution as known for larger granules, and follows a Weibull distribution.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 02/2014; 563. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201321601 · 4.48 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We employ different shapes of apodizing windows in the local correlation tracking (LCT) routine to retrieve horizontal velocities using numerical simulations of convection. LCT was applied on a time sequence of temperature maps generated by the Nirvana code with four different apodizing windows, namely--Gaussian, Lorentzian, trapezoidal and triangular, with varying widths. In terms of correlations (between the LCT-retrieved and simulated flow field), the triangular and the trapezoidal perform the best and worst, respectively. On segregating the intrinsic velocities in the simulations on the basis of their magnitudes, we find that for all windows, a significantly higher correlation is obtained for the intermediate and high-velocity bins and only modest or weak values in the low-velocity bins. The differences between the LCT-retrieved and simulated flow fields were determined spatially which show large residuals at or close to the boundary of granules. The extent to which the horizontal flow vectors retrieved by LCT compare with the simulated values, depends entirely on the width of the central peak of the apodizing window for a given $\sigma$. Even though LCT suffers from a lack of spatial content as seen in simulations, its simplicity and speed could serve as a viable first-order tool to probe horizontal flows--one that is ideal for large data sets.
    Solar Physics 02/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11207-015-0659-2 · 3.81 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Advances in solar instrumentation have led to a widespread usage of time series to study the dynamics of solar features, specially at small spatial scales and at very fast cadences. Physical processes at such scales are determinant as building blocks for many others occurring from the lower to the upper layers of the solar atmosphere and beyond, ultimately for understanding the bigger picture of solar activity. Ground-based (SST) and space-borne (Hinode) high-resolution solar data are analyzed in a quiet Sun region displaying negative polarity small-scale magnetic concentrations and a cluster of bright points observed in G-band and Ca II H images. The studied region is characterized by the presence of two small-scale convective vortex-type plasma motions, one of which appears to be affecting the dynamics of both, magnetic features and bright points in its vicinity and therefore the main target of our investigations. We followed the evolution of bright points, intensity variations at different atmospheric heights and magnetic evolution for a set of interesting selected regions. A description of the evolution of the photospheric plasma motions in the region nearby the convective vortex is shown, as well as some plausible cases for convective collapse detected in Stokes profiles.
    Solar Physics 04/2014; 290(2). DOI:10.1007/s11207-014-0626-3 · 3.81 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 21, 2014